LIVING & WORKING IN BRISBANE
WELCOME TO BRISBANE
Welcome to the Souths GFC page dedicated to making your life easier if you have decided to settle in Brisbane. Now obviously the two most important things when you first land in Brisbane are; what gaelic club should I sign up with and where can I go to see a friendly face and have a nice pint in Brisbane?
To answer the first question we have done years of research and came to the conclusion that Souths Gaelic Football Club is by far and away the best gaelic club to join in Brisbane. Luckily for you, you will find all the information needed to join on this very website. Who would have thought it, eh?
For the answer to the second question, we have also conducted years of research, but we reckon we should have a few more pints before making a final decision. In the meantime, this page presents some less important advice for people who are new to the city to help you get set up and find your feet (and your boots). The information is based on the experience of the numerous Irish expats who have gone before you and have either lived here temporarily or who have decided to make Brisbane their home.
Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia.
The climate of the region is described as sub-tropical. Brisbane therefore experiences hot humid summers and dry pleasant winters. There is ample sunshine all year around. It does get extremely hot in Summer with temperatures reaching up to 35°C. Spectacular thunderstorms become a normal part of Brisbane weather conditions from late October through to February/March. Winter is not really cold in Brisbane with temperatures generally reaching 21°C to 23 °C but it does get a bit nippy at night.
Many people who arrive in Brisbane choose to stay in short term accommodation until they find their feet. This gives them the time to secure a job, meet new people and determine type and location of an abode that suits their needs best.
The best websites to search for accommodation are:
There are also a number of Facebook pages that are used by Irish communities to advertise spare rooms for rent and for people coming to the city to request suitable accommodation. The editors of these pages are more than happy to place messages on their websites to help any Irish people in Brisbane. The Facebook pages include:
Most people arriving in Brisbane will find accommodation close to the city centre in suburbs like:
Kangaroo Point (mainly modern high rise accommodation close to the city),
Woolloongabba (a little further from town than Kangaroo Point but well serviced by Busses),
West End (the ‘hippie” area of the city with trendy shops, bars and cafes),
Fortitude Valley (the party/nightclub area of the city),
Spring Hill (Close to the CBD).
More settled Irish people tend to move to suburban areas of the city with popular areas including:
Expect to pay approximately $200 per person per week for accommodation excluding bills. Bills generally include electricity, gas and water and the utility companies bill these on a quarterly basis.
When renting accommodation you should expect to pay a bond that is generally between two and four weeks rent. Unlike Ireland, the bond is not held by the landlord but by a organisation called the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA). If there are disputes between landlords and tenants at the end of a lease regarding the bond, the RTA will act as the regulator/mediator to solve the dispute. If you are paying a bond you should ensure that it is officially paid to the RTA. There is more information here:
Busses and trains
Brisbane has extensive bus and rail services. To plan a journey visit the Queensland Transport website:
Tickets can be purchased on both busses and at train stations but if you plan on staying in the city for any length of time you should get a ‘Go Card’, which is a credit card sized electronic ticket that can be used for both train or bus journeys. It can be topped up online, on busses or at train stations.
There are two main taxi companies in Brisbane:
This section gives a few details that are important if investing in a car in Australia (a few friendly pointers, don't take it as Gospel). It should be used as a guide and in no way constitutes any legal advice.
If looking for a cheap car you will be surprised that even a 20 year old heap of junk can cost approximately $2000 and more.
All cars should be sold with a road worthy certificate that the seller has to supply. Ensure to ask for this if it has not been provided. There are a few good places online to look for a second hand car including;
Driving – General overview of the Rules
This section gives a few details that are important if driving in Australia (again, not legal advice, just a few friendly pointers).
Registration, or "Rego" has to be paid on all cars in Australia, this is similar to road tax in Ireland. Once a car has rego it is legal for anyone with a valid licence to drive it legally in Australia.
Rego includes ‘Compulsory Third Party Insurance’ (CTP). CTP Insurance protects you in the event of compensation claims for PERSONAL INJURY after a car accident. IT DOES NOT COVER THE COST OF DAMAGE TO PROPERTY (e.g. a car or other property that is damaged, if you are at fault in an accident). It is advisable to get either third party or comprehensive insurance if you plan to buy a car in Australia, to protect you from liability and claims in the event that you are at fault in an accident, otherwise a third party can sue you for any damage to personal property.
There is a lot more information on the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads website:
There are a number of toll roads and tunnels in and around Brisbane. There are a number of mechanisms for paying tolls that can be found at this website:
If you do not pay your tolls, fines will be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle.
If you are a permanent resident or citizen of Australia you must get a full licence after you have been residing in Queensland for 3 months. If you are on a temporary visa (holiday, working-holiday or sponsorship) you can drive legally using a valid Irish drivers licence. There are more details at the following website:
Fines and Demerit Points
Fines in Queensland (and Australia) tend to be pretty hefty and vary based on the offence. Fines for speeding vary depending on the speed of the vehicle above the speed limit. Demerit points are also issued for various offences and with 12 demerit points your licence becomes suspended for a period of time. An example is that you must stop completely at a Stop sign, even if it is obvious that there is nothing coming. If you don’t and you are caught, the fine is approximately $330 with 3 demerit points. Details about fines and demerit points can be found at:
Many Irish people at home hear these great stories of friends and family doing really well for themselves and making loads of money and make the decision to come to Australia to seek their fortune. While Irish people have been extremely successful in all sectors of employment in Australia, a word of warning is it doesn’t happen overnight! Australia is the same as Ireland in that; ITS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, ITS WHO YOU KNOW!!
Therefore making contacts and friends quickly can really help during the initial stages of your move to Australia, not just with jobs, but with accommodation, transport and general advice from people that have been in your shoes not so long ago. At Souths we have a great mix of people from all over Ireland that work in numerous industries throughout Queensland. When you register with the club, we are more than happy to assist you with finding regular employment and accommodation.
To operate in most trades in Australia the first port of call is securing all the various tickets and cards. For example the Blue/Green/White Card, as you will need this to gain access to any building sites in Australia. For machine operators you will need to get tickets for each machine you wish to operate (these can be expensive). Most lads start off as labourers and the company will generally sponsor them and send you for training to get your tickets.
Securing an office/admin job can take a number of weeks. Most Working Holiday Visa holders work as contractors with the big recruitment firms (Robert Half & Robert Walters etc) initially. You can work for a number of large Australian Companies for periods of between 3-6 months. For more information please visit the recruitment sites listed below.
Bars & Retail
It is always recommended to approach shops & bars individually and present your resume to the manager. To work in any bar you will be required to have a RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate. For more information, rates and schedule see:
To search for employment check out the employment websites below.
Recruitment Firms/ Job Sites:
If you earn money in Australia above a certain threshold you must pay income tax. To pay income tax you must register for an Tax File Number (TFN). This can be done through the following website:
If you are not deemed to be a ‘Resident for Tax Purposes’ (very different from a 'resident for immigration purposes’) you will be expected to pay tax at a rate of 30% on all earnings. It is more beneficial for temporary residents to be taxed as ‘residents for tax purposes’, so try to determine if you fit into this category before doing your tax return. There is more information on whether you can be classified as a resident for tax purposes here:
If you are a resident for tax purposes you will be expected to pay tax as determined by the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
To open a bank account in Australia you must go to a bank branch and present your passport. Agencies have been known to setup bank accounts for expats for a fee. Opening an account is easy though and banks generally don’t charge for opening a bank account.
You can withdraw money from your account at any ATM in Australia but be aware that if you use an ATM that does not belong to your own bank you will be charged a fee for withdrawing your money or even checking your balance (generally $2.50).
If you plan on staying in Australia beyond your initial entry visa, sponsorship, skilled and student are normally the visas of choice for most Irish people. For more information on requirements and costs please follow the links below.
Please be aware of legal costs associated with securing sponsorship or resident visa's as they can be extortionate in some cases. It is much better to look into submitting your own visa application before committing to pay any legal fees to do so. Many members of Souths have submitted their own successful applications and would be happy to offer any advice.
There is a vibrant Irish community in Brisbane with a number of Irish Associations and cultural centres around the city.
The Queensland Gaelic Football and Hurling Association (QGFHA)
As with any Parish in Ireland, GAA forms a focal point for the Irish Community in Brisbane. The QGFHA headquarters and pitches are at 318 Bowhill Rd in Willawong, about a 20 minute drive south of the CBD. The playing season generally takes place between March and September, with games taking place at Willawong on Sundays. You already know what club to join, but if you want any further information about Gaelic Games in Brisbane, just let us know and we can point you in the right direction.
Irish Australian Support Association Queensland
The IASAQ is a community, or a group of people, sharing a common history, interest or goal. The Irish Australian Support Association Queensland supports the Irish community in Brisbane and Queensland in a variety of ways. Their end goal is to facilitate a joining of the Irish Community, fostering positive relationships and creating a focal point for all the Irish in Brisbane. They provide fantastic support for Irish expats and temporary visitors to Queensland when requested and all Irish people should consider becoming a member (for approximately $10) if planning to stay in Brisbane for any length of time.
The Queensland Irish Association
An association promoting Irish culture in Queensland. It’s headquarters, The Irish Club, is on Elizabeth St in the CBD and is a great place to meet up for some grub, a pint of Guinness and a piece of Irish culture and heritage in Queensland. It is the focal point for annual events such as the St Patrick’s Day Parade and the Selection Ball for Queensland’s Rose of Tralee entrant.